In the four previous posts in this series leading up to my main save series “Totalitarian Football” we’ve created a nation and a club. Now it’s time to create a bit of a backstory to give the series a bit more life to it. I think this is important in a normal save, but absolutely vital in a series like this that is built around a club that doesn’t exist and no one has a relation to. Laura/Chilled Moose created a fantastic database around the fictitious nation of Aswijan, but still most of the save series created in that universe have struggled for views. I’m certain it’s because people can’t be bothered with stuff they’re not emotionally engaged in, especially not when the world of FM content is this saturated with quality stuff. Here lies my biggest challenge, one that I’m well aware of. That’s why posts like this is so important. This is my chance to put a bit of colour on this painting, my chance to provide you with a backstory engaging enough for you to follow this adventure!
The story of Bordavia
I’ve touched upon this a few times during the previous posts. Bordavia is a secluded isolationist regime, with totalitarian and Communist values, situated in the western/European part of Russia. It’s based around fairly primitive industries like coal mining and agriculture and just based on that at least I get the feeling that this is a fairly poor country. I’ve decided that that is going to both true and false. The population is poor, but that is not necessarily because the country is poor. Like in most totalitarian states it’s because of a skewed distribution of wealth. The few people running the country have a monopoly on the resources and very little of it reaches the people. Behind closed palace doors they eat Beluga caviar and drink champagne, while common people struggle to feed their families. This sounds awful, and I’m sure it must be, but in my mind this also produces a certain type of people. Hard working, honest. Oppressed but not broken. Football fits perfectly into this picture. For a people in a constant struggle, stripped of their rights to organised religion, football is the perfect thing to worship. In Bordavia, football has become more or less religion, but not football as we modern Europeans view it. No Champions League, no Premier League, no Serie A, since both international television and internet has been banned and therefore out of reach for most people. Sure, entire villages have gathered around a small TV to watch the occasional World Cup game, but the regime with its secret police are swift when searching for and finding illegal satellite dishes. Since Bordavia has not been recognised by the world as a proper nation, the national team have not been allowed to participate in UEFA or FIFA tournaments. A national team has existed, but only to play exhibition games against local “all star teams”, always with the same outcome. A sound, healthy and firm win for the nation’s pride!
The Bordavian national league
Instead, the Bordavians love their national league. They have to, since that’s all they know! In a relatively small country with a population of more than four million people, it’s easy to travel the fairly short distances between cities and towns and the ticket prices are dirt cheap. Since the state funds almost all sports, they can control ticket prices and by keeping them low, they give the people at least something to look forward to. An accessible and affordable pastime keeps people away form planning revolutions, so to speak. I won’t get into too much detail regarding the national league, even though I’ll get back to it later, because that’s not where our club will be playing.
CSKA Aransk – The Army Club
After winning 30 (Thirty!) straight league titles, CSKA Aransk is invited by Russia to join their league system. Not the Russian Premier League though. No, the much less glamorous third division, which is the lowest level of professional football in Russia. General Ivan, the Bordavian leader, has accepted this offer and you might ask why! Why would anyone in their right mind give up a sure fire league title to play in the Russian third league. Well, the reasons are two; By opening up the country in this fashion, Bordavia has been promised full UEFA and FIFA membership. That’s the official reason. The second and biggest reason though, is that General Ivan sees this as a perfect way to show off his “Pure Communism” and conquer Russia, Europe and the world! They will most likely be treated like the retarded hillbilly cousin by the other Russian clubs, but since Bordavia has been closed off for 30 years, no one has an idea of the quality of Brordavian football.
A Communist Athletic Bilbao
CSKA Aransk will solely rely on Bordavian players, like a communist Athletic Bilbao if you like, even in the Russian league. They will be allowed to use the consciption rules to enroll any Bordavian 18-year-old, which gives them a dominant position in Bordavian football. The 2nd team, “CSKA Aransk 2” will take their spot in the Bordavian top league, to both create the perfect developmental environment for the players but also to try to keep the nearly endless streak of league titles going!
Tales from Bordavia
An even better way to get people engaged in a story than writing gripping backstories is to actually involve people. The plan from the beginning was to have the entire story revolve around the adventures of CSKA Aransk in Russia and just create a Bordavian Premier League to use as a backdrop. That is not the plan anymore. Not since the “Building Bordavia” project took off.
Since I started my “Building Bordavia” project with the aim of creating a playable Bordavian database loads of people, both within and outside of the FM creators community, have offered to help out. A few town suggestions turned into a Bordavian map idea. The map was populated by more and more cities, towns and shitholes (in all honesty, that’s exactly what they are). Around the towns and their teams beautiful, eerie and/or strange backstories started to grow. Mining towns were created and destroyed, lakes were poisoned, brothers were torn apart and legends were born. People have not only showed their creativity through stories though. No, many teams now have beautiful kits and crests, making them come to life even more. This will result in a complete Bordavian league system, for anyone to download and play!
In an attempt to pay tribute to all the wonderful contributors and also to make several of the towns and clubs come to life, I’ll be releasing several blog posts titled “Tales from Bordavia”. These will showcase one or more stories around towns, clubs and legends. Read them and get sucked into the Bordavian lore. Maybe you will find a new favourite club? Maybe you will even start your own Bordavian adventure once the database is released!?